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Showing posts from March, 2018

Daily Thought For March 31, 2018

Getting Ready for Incredible Joy!
Tonight we go back to the beginning. As we ponder Jesus’ crucifixion and death, as we wait eagerly for his resurrection, we sense that something new is about to happen. We stand at the turning point of all history, the critical moment when Jesus passes from death to life and creates everything anew.

It was not enough to patch up the old things. In an ancient homily for Holy Saturday, Jesus is depicted as descending into hell to rescue Adam and Eve. He tells them, “The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you.” No mere touch-up job, Jesus took his new creation to a whole new level!

The very liturgy of the Easter Vigil ushers us into the mystery of this new creation. A new fire is kindled, and a new Paschal candle is lit. Then the Church moves from darkness to light as we ligh…

Daily Thought For Good Friday (March 30, 2018)

The Cross of Jesus Frees Us To Love
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This year we have also walked along the Way of the Cross, the Via Crucis, evoking again with faith the stages of Christ's Passion. Our eyes have seen again the sufferings and anguish that our Redeemer had to bear in the hour of great sorrow, which marked the climax of his earthly mission. 

Jesus dies on the Cross and lies in the tomb. The day of Good Friday, so permeated by human sadness and religious silence, closes in the silence of meditation and prayer. In returning home, we too, like those who were present at the sacrifice of Jesus, "beat our breasts", recalling what happened (cf. Lk 23: 48). Is it possible to remain indifferent before the death of God? For us, for our salvation he became man and died on the Cross.

Brothers and sisters, our gaze is frequently distracted by scattered and passing earthly interests; let us direct our gaze today toward Christ. Let us pause to contemplate his Cross. The Cross is …

Daily Thought For March 29, 2018

You Are Valuable
Have patience with all things - but first with yourself. Never confuse your mistakes with your value as a human being. You are perfectly valuable, creative, worthwhile person simply because you exist. And no amount of triumphs or tribulations can ever change that.

St. Francis de Sales

Daily Thought For March 28, 2018

With A Strong Faith Even Difficult Events Can Benefit Us  The fundamental problem is that we employ too much of our own criteria as to what is and what is not good and we don't have enough confidence in the Wisdom and Power of God. We don't believe that He is capable of utilizing everything for our good and that never, under any circumstance, would He leave us lacking in the essentials - that is to say, lacking anything that would permit us to love more. Because, to grow or to enrich one's spiritual life is to learn to love. Many of the circumstances that I consider damaging could, in fact, be for me, if I had more faith, precious opportunities to love more: to be more patient, more humble, more gentle, more merciful and to abandon myself more in to the hands of God.  Let us then be convinced of this and it will be for us a source of immense strength: God may allow me to occasionally lack money, health, abilities and virtues, but He will never leave me in want of Himself, of…

Daily Thought For March 27, 2018

Some Helpful Tips on Forgiveness
Forgive those who have offended you or your loved ones. In fact, think of the person who has most hurt you or most annoys you. Spend several minutes each day thanking God for that person and asking God to bless him or her. 
Just about everyone can recite the Lord's Prayer from memory. That's precisely the problem, though. We often rattle it off without really thinking about what we are saying. 
"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." Whenever we pray this line, we are asking God to forgive us in exactly the same way as we forgive those who hurt us. In other words, if we are harboring unforgiveness in our hearts as we say this prayer, we are calling a curse down upon ourselves. 
Let's face it, we are all in desperate need of the mercy of God. But time and time again, the Word of God makes clear that the greatest block to his mercy is resentment. In the Old Testament, Sirach 27:30-28:7 tells us how wrath…

Daily Thought For March 26, 2018

Centered In Prayer
The stillness of prayer is the most essential condition for fruitful action. Before all else, the disciple kneels down.
St. Gianna Beretta Molla

Daily Thought For March 25, 2018

The Passion — Total Surrender


Lectio

Luke 22:14–23:56

Meditatio

“This is my body.… This cup is the new covenant in my blood.…”

An interesting contemplative exercise would be to jot down in two separate columns the words said by Jesus and those said by everyone else in this Gospel passage.

The disciples and religious and civil leaders say things such as: “Who is the greatest?” “Lord, I am ready to go to death for you!” “Look, here are two swords. Shall we use them?” “If you are the Messiah, tell us.” “This man perverted our nation.” “Crucify him!” (cf. Lk 22:24–23:21).

Jesus says, “This is my body.… This is my blood, which will be shed for you.” “The leader is the one who serves. I am among you as the one who serves.” “You, Peter, will deny me.” “Pray not to enter into temptation.” “Judas, do you betray me with a kiss?” “If I tell you who I am you will not believe me.” “Father, forgive them” (cf. Lk 22:23–23:34).

The words of the disciples and leaders are characterized by self-protection. They…

Daily Thought For March 24, 2018

Loving Our Neighbor
You are obliged to love your neighbor as yourself, and loving him, you ought to help him spiritually, with prayer, counseling him with words, and assisting him both spiritually and temporally, according to the need in which he may be, at least with your goodwill if you have nothing else.

St. Catherine of Siena

Daily Thought For March 23, 2018

Great Advice On Our Last Friday of Lent
He will provide the way and the means, such as you could never have imagined. Leave it all to Him, let go of yourself, lose yourself on the Cross, and you will find yourself entirely.
St. Catherine of Siena

Daily Thought For March 22, 2018

Necessary Care Of Oneself THE VOICE OF CHRIST: My CHILD, everyone must take a reasonable care of himself. In time of temptation arouse yourself, warn yourself, guard yourself and avoid idleness. No matter how much you do for others, do not neglect yourself altogether. Beware of too much talking. Whenever possible, try to be alone with Me. Take advantage of My presence. Every moment of your life is lived in My presence. You possess Him Whom the whole world cannot take from you. I am worth more than everything else put together.  2. If you neglect yourself, you can lose in a short time the spiritual strength which was acquired slowly and with great effort over a long period. Reflect often on the eternal purpose of your earthly life. You have to be a spiritual man to reach this goal. I tell you through My Church how to live this earthly life. There is no other way. Examine your progress each day. In a short time your present Iife will be over. If you have been faithful, you will never again…

Daily Thought For March 21, 2018

Experiencing Freedom
Shin Dong-hyuk was a prisoner in a North Korean prison camp for twenty-three years before he escaped. But for most of that time, he thought that his life was normal. You see, he was born there. “I just thought that those people who carry guns were born to carry guns,” he said. It took him so long to entertain the thought of escaping because he thought that everyone lived in a camp like his. During his incarceration, if you had asked him the meaning of the word “freedom,” he wouldn’t have known how to answer.

You can hear similarities to Shin’s story in what some Jewish leaders say to Jesus in today’s Gospel: “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone” (John 8:33). Jesus is trying to tell them that they really are slaves—to sin. But they can’t understand what he means. They are observing the Law to the best of their ability; what could possibly be wrong with that? Nothing at all. But Jesus wanted to give them something more.

Jesus wanted his…

Daily Thought For March 20, 2018

The Search For True Joy & Freedom I don't know what the rules are exactly today, but they used to have a rule at the state university where I served as a chaplain that you're not allowed to have someone of the opposite sex in your room for more than three days. After three days, you've got to change rooms. (Not a good practice for morality.)  Here are all these young adults with their first taste of what they think is "freedom." They can do anything they want. No parents there to watch and impose rules. The kids are away from their families, away from everything else and they think, "I can do anything I want!" I can get drunk every night. I can get high every night. I can have sex every night. I can do anything I want!" FREEDOM, right? And a lot of these kids go ahead and do anything they want.  One night I was walking through the campus and literally passed more than 100 kids. (Yes, I counted them.) Not one of them had a smile on their face. Can …

Daily Thought For March 19, 2018

Practicing Works Of Mercy Imitating Jesus in his merciful compassion for those in need can often mean giving support and company to the lonely, to the sick, to people who suffer a shameful or barefaced poverty. We try to share their pain and help them sanctify it, as well as trying to remedy their situation as far as we can. Think of how consoling it can be for such a person to have a spell of company, made possible perhaps by sacrificing a bit of free time we may have been looking forward to enjoying. Our simple and friendly conversation with some sick or old person, which should never lack a certain supernatural tone — some uplifting news about the apostolate, maybe — leaves them with a little more faith and confidence in God. Tactfully and helpfully, we can offer them some little service, making their bed perhaps, or reading them part of some agreeable or possibly even amusing spiritual book.      Every day it is getting more and more necessary to ask God to give us a merciful heart …

Daily Thought For March 18, 2018

Surprises In Heaven I have often thought that perhaps I owe all the graces with which I have been blessed to some little soul whom I shall know only in heaven.      Some time ago, I was watching the almost imperceptible flicker of a tiny night light. One of the sisters came up and, having lit her own candle in the dying flame, passed it round to light the candles of the others, and the thought came to me: Who dares glory in her own works?       Just one such faint spark can set the whole world on fire. We are so aware of the bright light of the saints set high on the church’s candlestick, and we think we are receiving from them grace and light. But from whence do they borrow their fire? Very possibly from the prayers of some devout and hidden soul whose inward light is not apparent to human eyes, some soul of unrecognized virtue, and in her own sight, of little worth—a dying flame!      What mysteries shall we one day see revealed! For it is God’s will that here below, we shall give to on…

Daily Thought For March 17, 2018

God Always Offers A Helping Hand
Peter stayed on his feet - even when facing the greatest difficulties - as long as he acted with supernatural outlook, with faith, with confidence in the Lord. Later, in order to stay afloat, to receive God's help, he had to cooperate, because when our cooperation is lacking divine help also ceases. It was our Lord who helped him to go on. 
Peter recovered his faith and confidence in Jesus. He climbed aboard the boat with him, and at that moment the wind ceased and calm was restored to the seas and to the hearts of the disciples. They recognized Jesus as their Lord and God. Those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, Truly, you are the Son of God.  The experience of our personal weakness will serve for us to find Jesus who puts out his hand and enters our heart, giving us great peace in the midst of any trial. We should learn never to be afraid of God, who presents himself in ordinary things, as well as in the physical or moral sufferings we ma…

Daily Thought For March 16, 2018

Apply The Brakes! The Need For Holy Leisure
Have you ever found yourself wishing for a big snowstorm that would shut everything down for a few days? Sure, snow can give rise to any number of headaches. But at the same time, snow days can force us into slowing our life's pace a little bit. When work, school, and activities are canceled (and possibly the Internet is down too), we receive a gift of time during which we can play board games, bake treats, reconnect with one another, curl up with a good book, and take a much needed "breather." 
     Taking breathers is not something we Americans are especially good at doing. Surveys reveal that we spend more time on the job than workers in almost every other nation. Our children's lives are typically overbooked as well, their days being filled with sports practices, music and dance lessons, club activities, and increasing amounts of homework. 
     All sorts of negative consequences can arise from excessive activity. We becom…

Daily Thought For March 15, 2018

Deliverance From A False Inferiority
God has given different gifts to different people. There is no basis for feeling inferior to another who has a different gift. Once it is realized that we shall be judged by the gift we have received, rather than the gift we have not, one is completely delivered from a false sense of inferiority.
Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Daily Thought For March 14, 2018

PRAYER OF GRATITUDE Thank You, Lord, for all Your gifts of love, especially for those we often overlook.  Thank You for friends;  they increase our love for You.  Thank You for enemies;  they increase our tolerance.  Thank You for joys and happiness; they strengthen our faith in You.  Thank You for trials and tribulations;  they strengthen our trust and perseverance.  Thank You for times when all goes well; they teach us serenity.  Thank You for days when things are rough; they teach us patience.  Thank You for our successes; they increase our confidence.  Thank You for our failures; they increase our humility.  Thank You, Lord, for the "ups" and "downs" of life.  Thank You, Lord, for the precious gift of life itself.  Comfort us when we are disturbed;  disturb us when we become too comfortable.  Thank You, Lord, for being by our side. Amen.  from Our Lady of Fatima — Book of Prayers pp.222-223

Daily Thought For March 13, 2018

A Prayer For Peace of Mind
Fortify me with the grace of Your Holy Spirit and give Your peace to my soul that I may be free from all needless anxiety, solicitude and worry. Help me to desire always that which is pleasing and acceptable to You so that Your will may be my will.
St. Francis Xavier Cabrini

Daily Thought For March 12, 2018

 It's Time For An Extreme Makeover In The Church As happens with certain old buildings. Over the centuries, to adapt to the needs of the moment, they become filled with partitions, staircases, rooms and closets. The time comes when we realize that all these adjustments no longer meet the current needs, but rather are an obstacle, so we must have the courage to knock them down and return the building to the simplicity and linearity of its origins. This was the mission that was received one day by a man who prayed before the Crucifix of San Damiano: “Go, Francis, and repair my Church”. “Who could ever be up to this task?” wondered aghast the Apostle before the superhuman task of being in the world “the fragrance of Christ”; and here is his reply, that still applies today: “We’re not ourselves able to think something as if it came from us; our ability comes from God. He has made us to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; because the letter kills, but the…

Daily Thought For March 10, 2018

God Prunes Us Through Misfortunes
God also prunes us through misfortune. When I was in lithuania shortly after the fall of communism, a man in his seventies came up to me during one of the ministry sessions at the conference we were conducting and asked for prayer. My translator and prayer partner told him we would be glad to pray for him. We asked him what he would like us to pray for. He began to tell us about his life. His father and his brother had both been shot and killed. Another brother had starved to death in prison. He had seen something horrible happen to one of his sisters.       Anyone of these things would have been a wrenching experience for someone, but all of them together seemed too much for one person to have to bear. We were sure that this man needed prayer so that he would be able to forgive and receive healing. So we asked him, "Would you like us to pray for healing and forgiveness?"       He looked up at us with a big smile and said, "Oh, no. I'v…

Daily Thought For March 9, 2018

The Instrument Of Our Salvation For the Christian, all adversities accepted with faith and love are called collectively the cross. We choose to see them and realistically deal with them as part of imitating the divine Master, who challenges us to take up the cross and follow him (Mk 8:34)....
     Trials occur in every life, and the cross comes to all. Beginners in the spiritual life usually spend much time and energy trying to pray the cross away. And often enough God in his mercy lifts the cross of suffering, as we see our Savior doing in the Gospel. But trusting that God will lift the cross is only beginning. The Christian making progress learns that in suffering and adversity there is much to be gained. Our Lord accepted his cross when his hour came, and that cross literally became the instrument of our salvation. 
from Quiet Moments with Benedict Groeschel

Daily Thought For March 7, 2018

Burnout What is burnout?  GOD'S RESPONSE [Elijah] went on alone ... He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said.  (1 Kings 19:4) We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies. (2 Corinthians 5:2) I am exhausted and completely crushed. My groans come from an anguished heart. (Psalm 38:8) ✙ Burnout is the emotional exhaustion that comes when reality persistently falls short of our expectations. Elijah was convinced that his spiritual victory would transform Ahab's heart and change the spiritual climate of Israel, but instead of implementing reforms, Ahab threatened Elijah's life. Just at the moment of triumph, Elijah grew depressed and quit—classic signs of burnout, which can be a particular problem for Christians. God's power is limitless, but we still live in a fallen world. When our expectations go unmet, the result can be burnout. Learn to recog…

Daily Thought For March 6, 2018

Kindness
How can I show kindness to others?  GOD'S RESPONSE The way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better.  Colossians 1: 1 0  Do for others what you would like them to do for you.  Matthew 7:12  I myself have gained much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because your kindness has so often refreshed the hearts of God's people. Philemon 1:7 ✚ Kindness is not a single act but a lifestyle. It is the habit of being helpful, encouraging, sympathetic, and giving-what you do for others that says, "I'm thinking of you." Even in confrontation you can be kind. You practice kindness in all you do and say, always treating others as you would want to be treated. When you do that, you bring great refreshment to everyone you meet and you honor and please the Lord. Your kindness today may pass on to many generations and leave a lasting impression …

Daily Thought For March 5, 2018

We Need The Gift of The Holy Spirit
If you wish to rise above a life of imperfection, you must, like the apostles, prepare yourself for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Remain watchful and persevere in humble and continual prayers.

When you are ready, my Spirit will come to you as he did to the apostles waiting in expectant faith in the upper room.

You will be given the courage to leave your safe house of prayer and fearlessly announce to the world what you have come to know of my truth and my love, not fearing pain and rejection, but seeing the glory of whatever comes to you.

I will give you a fire of charity strong enough to overcome your fears, your love of comfort, and all the temptations of the Devil.

Having the taste of my charity in your soul you can arise and give birth to it in your neighbors. For you cannot love me without loving your neighbor, nor can you love your neighbor and not love me.
St. Catherine of Sienna

Daily Thought For March 4, 2018

Treat Everyone Well Our Lord's repeated calls for us to be charitable at all times, and especially in his New Commandment must stimulate us to follow His lead by finding concrete ways of being of help to others, such as by making those at our side happy, realizing that we can never be too extravagant in the practice of this virtue. Most of the time the practice of charity will consist in little details, something as simple as a smile, a word of encouragement, a kind gesture ... In the eyes of God all of this is very pleasing and draws us closer to Him. In our prayer today we should also consider areas where we can easily lack charity if we are not careful: rash judgements, negative criticism, neglect of others due to self-centeredness, forgetfulness ... The Christian way of conduct is not the way of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but to do good always, even though occasionally such an attitude will not result in any human gain in this world - but at least we will have …

Daily Thought For March 2, 2018

Producing Good Fruit
Lectio

Matthew 21:31–43, 45–46

Meditatio

“The Kingdom of God will be …
given to a people that will produce its fruit.”

What a tragic parable Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel reading. This thinly veiled story describes the rejection and death of the Son. God did not allow his plan for the salvation of humanity to be thwarted, however. God’s Kingdom will be given to a people that will produce the fruit that God desires.

Through our baptism we have become members of this people. How can we produce the fruit that God desires? We find the key in the Scripture passage that Jesus quotes: “the stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Jesus is this cornerstone. Our lives and our very beings must be grounded in him. This began at our baptism when we became members of Christ and his Body. Now we seek to grow in him, becoming more like Jesus every day.
Practically speaking, how can we do this? We begin by trying to know Christ better, through conversation with him and…

Daily Thought For March 1, 2018

Helping Others Helping a person in need is good in itself. But the degree of goodness is hugely affected by the attitude with which it is done. If you show resentment because you are helping the person out of a reluctant sense of duty, then the person may recieve your help but may feel awkward and embarrassed. This is because he will feel beholden to you. If, on the other hand, you help the person in a spirit of joy, then the help will be received joyfully. The person will feel neither demeaned nor humiliated by your help, but rather will feel glad to have caused you pleasure by receiving your help. And joy is the appropriate attitude with which to help others because acts of generosity are a source of blessing to the giver as well as the receiver. St. John Chrysostom